Saturday, 17 January, 2009
“When are you going to write something new on your blog?” asks Elsie every time she sees me. She's not the only one; when Panther was here around Christmas/New Year's, she also told me I had to keep posting because she would keep reading. And even with the rise in my activity on Twitter (and therefore Facebook; I annoy all my Facebook friends with my frequent updating), I don't want to say that blogging is dead because I still want to blog and blog about all sorts of things (books, writing, knitting, photos ... Twilight [Twilight requires its own post, methinks]), the issue is time. Microblogging is certainly easier, but I'm hesitant about doing what Rachel recommends in her Mashable article (it raises all sorts of questions about how you organise information), because of the different audiences and mediums, and maybe I'm just not a hardcore Tweeter. Yet.
Anyway, let me bring you up to speed. Since last I wrote,
- Ben endured his six weeks in the cast (first it was plaster, then it was some weird black mesh thing that he could take into the shower with him without having to wrap it in a towel and a plastic bag). When he finally got the cast removed, he said, “Everything looks smaller” because he was no longer so close to the ground being able to stand instead of sit.
- The settlement on our unit went through and we claimed our keys the Monday before Christmas. Then over the next two weeks, we spent every other day painting. I'd never done it before (and I wouldn't say I was good at it) but it was satisfying in its own way.
- On the days we weren't painting, we packed like mad. I managed to get the books out of the way first, and because I was handling them all, I decided to put them into LibraryThing (that's been on my To Do list for ages). My library is now fully searchable (so if I know you and you want to borrow something, let me know!). And it's all tagged too (not very consistently but tagged nonetheless). In the end, I had 43 boxes of books and around 1900 catalogued. (Then Ben decided to cull his lot and took out all of Calvin's commentaries. I guess it's easier to look at them online ...)
- We got rid of heaps of stuff. Heaps of stuff! I don't think I can be accused of being a packrat any more: I went through all our cards and letters (what do you do with them???), all my bits of paper, I threw out all my materials from MTS (but kept some of the Sunday school stuff), all the odds and ends, all the stuff I'd hauled out from my mum's place when she moved back in July (found my juvenilia and realised I've always been into publishing and writing in some way ... I forgot that) ... anyway, you get the picture. Salvos benefitted from most of it (and we gave them stuff they can probably resell, not rubbish). Some of it I gave to lovely people who came to help us pack up the kitchen, and who waited patiently while I turned over each item of memorabilia in my hands and asked, “Should I keep this?” (That's really what you need when you're packing—other people who don't have the emotional attachment you do to a particular thing who can tell you want to do with it, or at least listen to you blab on about it. You don't end up doing much actual packing, but you do end up processing and dealing with your life in some way.)
- I figured the only way I was going to get a break amid the painting and packing and eating-everything-in-the-pantry-so-we-don't-have-to-move-it was to leave town. So when George invited me on a road trip to Newcastle to visit her father and stepmother at their place, I leapt at the chance. It was only for a night so it was a very short holiday, but it was a holiday nonetheless! So we drove to Newcastle and George took me on a tour of her childhood, and then went out to the Hunter Valley (I don't think I've been there before ...) It was great to meet more of George's family and to understand more about her and her background. We stayed the one night, wandered around the Hunter Valley Gardens the following day, and then drove home. (And I freaked George out with my driving ... [must blog about driving later ...])
- Carpet was laid in the new unit the Monday before we were due to move in. We were still fixing up bits of the painting the day before we were due to move in. I tried consciously to have a rest before moving day—I finally watched Rent (thanks Matt! I need to return that to you sometime) and liked it more than I thought I would. On moving day, our removalists were late and we were stressing. They seemed to have a good excuse (though friends of ours have also used them and they were consistently late for them too), and they worked really hard for us so we were rather pleased with them. Unfortunately their truck was too small so they had to take everything in two lots. And they said they'd never seen anyone with so many boxes. One of them commented, “You guys don't actually have that much furniture; it's just all the boxes” and was comforted when I reassured him that I had read most of the books he was transporting for me.
- Moving took two days to finish, but I had to be back at work on the following day (Friday) to do cuts and fills on the February Briefing. So Ben had to oversee the rest of the move, as well as the piano. Unfortunately the piano wouldn't fit up the stairwell; they did try, but were only able to get as far as the first landing. I was really sad: that piano has been in our family for ages. I think we bought it off family friends back in Canada. It was the piano I learned on. My dad used to play it while I sat on his knee—Raffi songs, and Sharon, Lois and Bram (kids' music). It came with us to Australia (well, it came by boat several months later, but you know what I mean). It's quite unusual in that the ridge for the music goes all the way across, and the front slopes back and forth when you open and close it. Most pianos don't have a music stand that wide—usually it's only wide enough for two pages. We ended up storing it at my dad's house, which means it won't get played for the next ... however many years until we move again (I'm guessing we'll have to move again someday ...) We're not piano-less, however; we do have Ben's keyboard which normally gets neglected!
- Unpacking was relatively quick! It helped having four people over to help us (Toby, Sarah, George and my mum). I expected that we'd only get the kitchen and the clothes done, but they were keen beans and unpacked all our books and most of the other boxes as well. We are still getting rid of stuff though—we got rid of one chest of drawers and have less wardrobe space, plus way too many clothes. I've moved five or six times, but it's still strange to me—that whole process of your body adjusting to new spaces, trying to find homes for things, realising there's stuff you could do without so you ought to get rid of it ... I wouldn't say it's cleansing or cathartic or even painful ... it just feels like growing up, I think.
Anyway, we're getting there. The other day we went out the bought new sofas (I guess you should do that at least once in your life, right?) The phone still isn't connected, and therefore we have no internet (I don't understand why they need you to have a phone line in order for you to get naked DSL ... doesn't that make it clothed DSL???), so we are living on mobile broadband (which means only one of us can use it at a time, and it's as slow as dial-up). But we're getting there.
I'm normally against New Year's Resolutions, but this year I've formed a few. Perhaps they're really New Year's Ideals rather than Resolutions. Anyway, in 2009, I will:
- Write more and make writing a priority. Guan, Bec and I want to have regular writing days—weekly, even. We're all working on ig projects and we're keen to see them finished (or at least on the way to being finished) by the end of the year.
- Knit through my yarn stash. We moved three boxes of yarn. I think I've managed to accumulate so much because people know I knit so they give me all the yarn they haven't used. I should probably use it all up before I buy any more. (That said, I really want to knit myself this coat.) I'm also lazy and would rather consult the blogosphere rather than Google: does anyone have the URL for those organisations where you knit patches and they sew them into quilts to sent to Africa?
- Be a better housekeeper. Cleaning our old house made me rather ashamed of how little I dust and vacuum. And it's probably not healthy for us.
- Be more hospitable. I want to have people over more, but I don't want to do the whole “entertaining” thing. Can't we hang out and watch DVDs???
- Deal with the problem of the photos, cards, letters and old creative stuff. I think this whole category of memorabilia is the hardest to deal with when you're packing/moving/trying to save space. You don't want to throw it all out because they're like pieces of you. But that said, I don't want to have four boxes of photo albums the next time we move. When my mother moved, she made me take all the photo albums. When we moved, I made her take some of them back because some of them are from when she's young and I have no idea who the people are in them, plus they would mean more to her than they would to me (I would just ignore all the ones without her in them). I have stacks of photos from my childhood when we used to go to Hong Kong with my dad and travel with my grandma. She used to order double prints so I'm sure most of them are duplicates. Anyway, I need to deal with them but haven't found the right solution. Should I block out a couple of weekends and scan them all in like mad, then chuck out the originals? Or is that too risky? Who is going to look at that many photos anyway??? Suggestions please! Also, with the cards and letters, I'm thinking of doing something similar. Certainly with the cards, I thought about compiling a Blurb book of all the encouraging ones—something to read when I feel down so I will remember that people do care about me and did things to show it. I could put in pictures of the people too ... But I have no idea how to deal with my juvenilia. I think I still have the computer files for most of it, but they're probably corrupted or haven't converted properly from MS Word for Dos, or whatever it was I was using back in 1990.
Okay, five ideals is enough for one year! And this blog post should be long enough to keep both Elsie and Panther happy ...
/Karen/ had a thought at 9:45 AM
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